Bessemer Ventures’ David Cowan Explains Why He Likes Rigetti Computing
(Forbes) Kevin Dowd, Forbes Staff writer who specializes in buyouts, mergers, acquisitions and other dealmaking recently interviewed David Cowan, a parter at Bessemer Venture Parters. IQT-News summarizes the discussion as related to quantum computing.
Cowan is now also an investor in and a board member at Rigetti Computing, a quantum computing company that agreed to go public in early October by merging with a SPAC at a $1.5 billion valuation. That’s up from $129 million when Bessemer took its stake in the company last year. David Cowan had already been an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners.
Cowan believes “Perhaps the most exciting applications of quantum computing are in medicine. There are trillions of atoms in each cell and trillions of cells in the human body, all interacting with each other in an unceasing biological dance. Current superconductors are seriously powerful machines, but unspooling that kind of choreography is beyond their reach”.
The potential is equally vast in a wide range of other industries. Cowan said, “. . anything that requires machine learning or optimization, or certainly anything that requires an understanding of physics—like biology, chemistry, materials—anything that involves simulation, like designing airplanes or cars, anything that uses heavy computation, which of course is lots and lots of interesting industries—all of those will get a huge boost.”
Cowan likes Rigetti for two reasons. He explained, “One is that I can’t buy a big piece of Google or IBM,” Cowan said with a grin. “But the second thing is that I’ve seen in many industries that, as formidable as the major tech companies are, a committed dedicated startup will usually out-innovate the tech giants. And so even though Google and IBM have more money and more people, I still believe that Rigetti is going to way outpace them.”
Rigetti will bring in $458 million in proceeds from its SPAC merger to help fund its ongoing R&D and bring its quantum computing technology to market. Wall Street heavyweights T. Rowe Price and Franklin Templeton are both taking part in a $100 million PIPE investment to support the deal. So too is In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. And so too are Bessemer and Cowan—another sign of his belief in Rigetti’s long-term potential.